Fav Posts of 2013

With the year winding down, I took a look back at this year’s blog posts and wanted to share my favorites with you.

In the order they appeared…

  1. A Pizza Kind of Weekend – because it’s not always just about running and pizza is one of my favorite foods!

    Fresh out of the oven

    Fresh out of the oven

  2. Running Missteps – even after years of running, it’s good to remember that we can all fall into some rookie mistakes now and then.
  3. Birthday Fun – because it reminds me what a great b-day I had this year.
  4. Race Recap: Cherry Blossom 10 Miler – not only do I LOVE this race, but it was also one of my fastest and most successful races of the year making it a fun recap to relive.

    Smiling after hearing Ian call my name!

    Smiling after hearing Ian call my name!

  5. So Sad – because this was one of the most emotional posts I’ve written, and I still find what happened in Boston hard to believe.
  6. Book Review: Pre: The Story of America’s Greatest Running Legend, Steve Prefontaine – because I can’t believe it took me so long to finally read this book and because you should too if you haven’t read it yet!
  7. Race Recap: Such a Rush – the day I ran my first-ever track race and loved every second of it!SprintToTheFinish
  8. Engaged! – because this was my favorite thing about 2013!

    Celebratory Toast at Fireworks

    Celebratory Toast at Fireworks

  9. A Conversation with Bart Yasso – because I got to talk with Bart Yasso. Enough said.
  10. MCM Race Recap: BQ or Bust… Well, Not Exactly – while this race wasn’t at all what I expected I love the emotion that comes through in the recap and the understanding that a bad race isn’t the end of the world.


Tell me what was your favorite post you wrote in 2013.

Finally…A FitBloggin’13 Recap! Part 2

Yesterday I finally posted my first recap from FitBloggin’13, which I attended in Portland at the end of June. That recap looked at the great workouts we did throughout the weekend, today’s looks at the discussions, sessions and workshops.

Opening Welcome Mixer

Opening Welcome Mixer

The Discussions:
There were all sorts of sessions planned for the conference and a few of them were more geared towards group discussion rather than presentation and learning.

One of my favorites was Motivating Your Community to Choose Healthy Lifestyles. We talked about how to create a group that is welcoming, encouraging and inspiring – not one that feels like a clique. Some had really great stories to share about their experiences making a difference and promoting healthier living in their offices, their local schools or even just their families. It was really great to hear about all these people making a difference and see that you don’t have to change the world to make a difference – you can start small and you never know how much of an impact you might end up having.

Another interesting discussion was Tackling the Taboo of Therapy: The Importance of Mental and Emotional Health. Too many people don’t seek mental help until they hit rock bottom – don’t wait was the message of this discussion. I was amazed to hear that one in four adults in any given year qualify for some type of diagnosis such as a mood disorder. We also talked about the physical effects of stress, learning not to worry about things you can’t control and remembering it’s OK to take time for yourself and take care of yourself.

Moving on to the Education Sessions:

The most beneficial part of FitBloggin’13 for me was the education sessions and workshops. I took away so much valuable info and loved learning from fellow bloggers, many of whom were once in the same place I am now.

I really enjoyed the session on Photography for Blogging: Tech, Art, and Heart. Amanda Duran of Grow Soul Beautiful talked about the tech side of things like choosing the right aperture, shutter speed and ISO to take the best picture possible as well as what kind of camera is right for you and how to choose lenses for more advanced cameras. She gave some great tips on lighting, creative apps and backing your photos up, but my favorite piece of advice she gave was the best camera you can have is the one you’ll use. She also encouraged everyone to do something with their photos. I’ve always been a big proponent of actually using all of the digital photos I take rather than letting them rot on a memory card whether it’s printing them out, making a photobook, getting a digital photo frame or something else.

I went to another session on Google Analytics: Moving Beyond Pageviews that proved to be extremely helpful. You can check out the presentation here. I thought I had a good idea about how Google Analytics worked, but quickly realized I have a lot to learn. The Search Engine Optimization (or SEO) session, Building Your Blog Through Organic SEO, Social Signals and Image Optimization, was equally helpful. We learned about Google’s Panda and Penguin updates that have really changed how SEO works and are starting to make quality of content more important to your Google ranking. I also learned that I need to stop neglecting Google+ (not surprisingly) if I want to create the biggest impact possible.


Last, but not least were my two favorite sessions. In Turning Your Blog Into A Business: Key to Monetizing Your Work, I learned a lot about how to actually monetize your blog. While my main takeaway was, I better not quit my day job, I got some really helpful tips about advertising networks, direct ad sales, affiliate marketing and more. The presenters also talked about leveraging partnerships with local businesses and focusing on building a brand based around your interests and experiences. I was actually in charge of writing a recap on FitBloggin’s site for the workshop: How to Create a Media Kit that Showcases Your Brand and Gets Companies Knocking on Your Door.  The three presenters shared the successes they’ve had with their media kits and detailed the logistics of creating ones, how to know what you’re worth and how to market yourself. Really interesting stuff.


Not to be Forgotten, The Receptions:

While I was really excited to go to FitBloggin, I was also super nervous. I didn’t know anyone there and I hate usually HATE networking receptions. After five minutes at the Opening Welcome Mixer, all my nerves had disappeared – this was an awesome, open and welcoming group. I started out introducing myself to others at the badge decorating table while I blinged out my badge with some stickers…yes, that’s the extent of my art talent. Next I wandered around to several tables meeting more cool bloggers while trying to complete a bit of a scavenger hunt. Then came the ice breaker games that I used to dread. I have to say, theirs were pretty cool though. The evening culminated in a dance off party that had me laughing and feeling completely comfortable with this huge group of bloggers. Kudos to the organizers on this!

Closing Reception

Closing Reception

More to come in Part 3 on playing tourist in Portland!

FitBloggin Day One: Is This Heaven?

The first full day of FitBloggin’13 was awesome! I had so much fun and was totally in my element. By 9 a.m. I’d gone to boot camp, got out for a quick run around Portland and taken a Reebok cardio dance class. (The time change really helps make me a morning person.) Can I please do this everyday?! They also had a great hot breakfast for us, which made my morning.

Free Hugs Wrist Bands at FitBloggin

Free Hugs Wrist Bands at FitBloggin

I went to some great small group discussions later that morning. The first was a talk about motivating your community to live healthier lifestyles and the second focused on tackling the taboo of therapy. An athletic wear fashion show at lunch was followed by a presentation from Reebok on choosing the perfect shoe. I also learned a lot during a couple more afternoon sessions on using SEO and monetizing your blog.

After a great dinner with Ian at a local Italian restaurant I headed back for the Ignite Fitness keynote featuring 5-minute presentations from various FitBloggin attendees. Everyone was so amazing and inspiring. Loved it. I am completely exhausted, but excited for more to come on day two. Full recaps and more pictures to come soon!

The Liebster Award

Last week Maureen from Running On Cabernet (one of my favorite running blogs to read, so go check it out if you haven’t read it before) nominated me for The Liebster Award. Thanks Maureen!

liebsterawardI’ve seen this going around on some of the blogs I follow and here’s how it works:

  • It’s a great way to promote new blogs as it’s given to up and coming bloggers with less than 200 followers
  • You list 11 random facts about yourself and then answer the 11 questions from the person who nominated you
  • Next choose 11 new bloggers to pass the award on to and tag them in your post

Here goes…

11 Random Facts

  1. I won a raffle among the girls in my sixth grade class (all 12 of us) and got the chance to carry the Olympic Torch along the grounds of my elementary school as it made its way to the Atlanta Games.

    Carrying the Olympic Torch in front of IC school

    Carrying the Olympic Torch in front of IC school

  2. I went to two different high schools.
  3. I went to three undergrad colleges in four years, but still managed to graduate summa cum laude on time. I don’t believe in quitting, but I also don’t believe in staying in a situation that makes you unhappy if you have control to change it. You make your own happiness.
  4. I ran cross country my sophomore year in college and actually made All Conference. Disclaimer: I could never convince enough girls at my school to come out for a meet so we never got to place as a team, and I very well may have been running in the worst conference in all of Division 3.
  5. When I was little I wanted to play Little League Baseball so my parents signed me up, and along with my cousin Susie, I played with the boys for years until I finally  made the switch to softball for school ball.
  6. I love puzzles and I get one for Christmas every year.
  7. I took piano lessons for 10 years.
  8. I had a basketball coach who said if we wanted to be good at ball handling we should practice an hour a day no matter how hard it was to fit in. For the next three years of high school, my poor parents had to listen to me dribbling a basketball in our basement for an hour a day every single day, often in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep. I can’t even begin to imagine how annoying this must have been!
  9. My brother and I built a rope ladder to climb out of his second story bedroom room onto our deck when we were probably 12 and 14 years old. After he made it down, I couldn’t reach the ladder so I put my bike helmet on and jumped into the pile of pillows we put out in case the ladder failed only I missed the pillows. Other than a swollen ankle for a couple days I was completely fine somehow. We didn’t tell our parents for a very long time. In fact, they might just be learning about it now. Oops.
  10.  I didn’t eat my first cheeseburger until college. Why did I wait so long?!
  11. I’ve run marathons in four different countries.

11 Questions From Maureen

  1. Why did you start your blog?
    I’ve always loved writing and had wanted to do a blog for a long time, but never knew how to start. I wasn’t super happy with the job I had at the time and it was making me hate writing, so I wanted to take that back and write for myself again.
  2. What is your favorite type of junk food?
    Toss up between Reese’s Pieces or sour gummy worms
  3. Do you read newspaper in print or online?
    I stuck with the print edition for a long time, but finally gave up and mostly always read it online now.
  4. What was the last move you saw in the theater?
  5. What was your favorite class in school?
  6. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
    Ireland – in a heartbeat. I’ve been there before, but it was my absolute favorite vacation and I would love to go back!
  7. What is the best meal you’ve ever eaten?
    Oh man, that’s a tough question. Recently I’d say a homemade buffalo chicken deep dish pizza. I’ve had some really good steakhouse dinners. I always love spaghetti and meatballs. I LOVE eating, so I don’t know why I can’t pin down the best meal I’ve ever had – maybe there are just too many to choose from.
  8. How long have you lived in your current city/town?
    Almost 7 years
  9. What was your first job?
    I cleaned the rectory offices at my Church in high school, but my first real job was in Communications at the Consumer Electronics Association – a pretty good first gig.
  10. What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
    My parents always drilled into me that working hard and being good to the people around you will pay off in the end. It does.
  11. What are you looking forward to this summer?
    Lots of long weekends here in D.C. and on the road with Ian including my first trip to Portland, Oregon!

Bloggers I’m Tagging: (Not sure if I’d consider all of these new bloggers and I know some of them definitely have more than 200 followers, but I do really enjoy reading all of them.)

Lindsay at Flour, Sugar, Eggs, Running

Molly at Heart, Sole & Cereal

Ashley at Coffee Cake and Cardio

Jennifer at A Knack for Nutrition

Sam at Yogitastic

Rana at Life, Love & the Pursuit of Running

Katie at Healthy Heddleston

Allison at Wicked Healthy Washingtonian

Sara at Magia e Pasta

Alex at The Run Within

Jess at Jess Runs

My Questions

  1. What’s your favorite book?
  2. Guilty pleasure TV show?
  3. How many siblings do you have?
  4. What’s your hometown?
  5. Best Vacation you’ve ever taken?
  6. What would you do if you won the lottery?
  7. What’s your dream job?
  8. Why do you blog?
  9. Do you have any pets?
  10. What’s something most people don’t know about you?
  11. What are you most proud of?